My Style: Rachel Pally Shows Us Around Her Los Feliz Digs

If you stalk celeb style like us, then Rachel Pally must seem like an old pal (pun intended). If not, here's the 411: She’s the brilliant designer behind all of those super-flattering maxis you’ve seen on everyone from SJP and Beyoncé to Jennifer Aniston and Katy Perry. As you can see from the dazzling list of her famous fans, Pally's threads are versatile enough for every style sentiment. But the best part is, these fine jersey frocks are comfy-yet-cool enough to wear during an errand-packed afternoon or a swank-ified night. And, after hanging with this West Coast empress, we found that Pally's personality and airy abode are just as warm and inviting as her wares. Want proof? Cruise through to read our fun convo with the designer, peep some seriously stunning interior snaps, and get ready to really try RP on for size.
If you get the shopping itch after all that talk about pretty clothes (we don't blame you!) — we also happen to have a super-exclusive Reserve deal, offering $100 off of everything on Rachel's site. Check it out on our Reserve site. See you in the tabloids next? We hope so!
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Photographed by Hailley Howard
1 of 19
You’ve lived in California most of your life — how do you think this influences your designs?
"I'm such a California girl. I love laid-back, relaxed clothes that suit my lifestyle. I want to look good, but I also want to ride my bike to the beach and go to the farmers' market. I like to design clothes that can go from day to night with a simple change of accessories. For example, wearing a dress to the Rose Bowl Flea Market in the morning with sandals, then slipping into a pair of sexy heels for a night out. Now, that's California style!"

Photographed by Hailley Howard
2 of 19
You have such a celebrity following from Angelina Jolie to Oprah. Do you still get giddy when you see a star in something you’ve created? What happens when you see someone on the street wearing your designs?
"Totally! It never gets old. And I get so excited when I see someone on the street in Rachel Pally. My husband, my parents, and I have all been known to go up to strangers and tell them. We were in Greece for our honeymoon, and when I saw a girl wearing one of my dresses, Kevin (my hubby) went running back to tell her. We ended up taking a picture together. It was so cool. Halfway around the world!"

Is there one celebrity you think wears your designs particularly well?
"Beyoncé launched her blog last month and posted a photo of herself wearing our classic long-sleeve wrap dress. She was pregnant and the dress hugged her body in all the right places. She looked absolutely amazing — glowing, sexy, and confident. The best part about this dress is that she can still wear it post-baby!"

Vintage Giorgio di Sant'Angelo Jacket, Rachel Pally Tank, 7 for all Mankind Bell Bottoms, Borsalino Hat

Photographed by Hailley Howard
3 of 19
Did you always know you wanted to be in fashion?
"No. I have a degree in cultural geography from Berkeley! I didn’t know what I wanted to do. City planning, teaching...but I ultimately knew that I wanted to work for myself. I fell in love with making costumes for my dance department, and then started making clothes for myself. I decided to give it a real go after college. I've always loved fashion, so it wasn’t much of a stretch!"

Oh, that's right, you studied dance in college, too. How did that inspire the designs you create?
"Dance costumes really move with the body and flow and cling in the right places. I think that my collections are always a bit reminiscent of dance. I can’t say that I have been directly influenced by my geography degree, though. Ha!"

Can you still bust a move? What are your favorite dance floors in town?
"For sure! I love to salsa dance and I still take an African dance class from a Nigerian drum master named Francis Awe in Los Angeles. I dance, while my husband plays the drums! I also love Sweaty Sundays and Wet Wednesdays with Ryan Heffington! When I do it, it makes me so happy."

Vintage Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace

Photographed by Hailley Howard
4 of 19
How long have you lived in your home?
"I moved into my house in 2004. I fell in love with the view of downtown L.A. and the house has such great light. When I first saw it, I just knew. I love it so much."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
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5 of 19
What or who inspired you to break into fashion? Did you have a mentor?
"I started to make my own clothes while in college and I met a woman who owned a great gallery/boutique in L.A.’s Chinatown. She let me consign some dresses that I was making at my dining room table, and people were actually buying them! She really encouraged me to start a clothing line. So, I did, and the rest is history."

Who are some other designers you really admire?
"I’m in love with Donna Karan. I pretty much love everything she does. She really understands a woman’s body and designs for such a range of women. She evolves every season. She takes chances and she seems like one hell of a woman. She’s a mother, a grandmother, a businesswoman, a philanthropist, an art collector, and a yogi. She’s kind of my idol!"

Photographed by Hailley Howard
6 of 19
How did you dress in high school? Any fashion faux pas you want to fess up to?
"There were so many. The men’s polyester pants. The pixie harcut that I dyed a variety of purple and burgundy shades. Oh, and the dollar-a-pound garbage that I called vintage, but was really just gross and used! Ugh. I had a very un-cute period for awhile there!"

What’s a trend right now that you are loving or forecast will be big? On the flipside, what are you so done with?
"I always obviously love maxi-dresses and bell-bottom jeans. I’m glad they're still in! I think they are universally flattering. And I can’t stand the wedge sneakers that are happening right now. I love Isabel Marant, but I just can’t get on board with those puppies."

What’s the easiest way to pep up a drab ensemble?
"A great scarf! I just bought two from A Peace Treaty and I’m obsessed with them. I’ve worn one every day since I bought them. They totally change your entire look!"

Rachel Pally Barrett Dress and Belt, Dries Van Noten Shoes, VK Lillie Necklace

Photographed by Hailley Howard
7 of 19
Could you possibly pick a favorite pair of shoes? Why do they hold a special place in your heart?
"I’m a shoe maniac. Right now I’m particularly obsessed with this pair of tri-color snakesin Dries Van Noten's with a gold heel. I bought them the last time I was in New York. I had tried them on at Bergdorfs and had talked myself out of the purchase. Then, I went to a lunch meeting with a fashion editor, and she was wearing them. So, I freaked and ran back to Berfdorfs so fast after lunch! Once I saw them on her, I just couldn’t stop thinking about them! I’ve worn them with leather leggings, jeans, and floaty dresses. They are dreamy. But I also can’t live without my beat-up cowboy boots. Timeless!"

Photographed by Hailley Howard
8 of 19
What are your favorite places to go in L.A. when you’re not working?
"I love to hike in Griffith Park. We live just down the hill. And I love to unwind in our backyard around our fire pit with friends. But my most-favorite place in the world to let my hair down is my family’s cabin on the American River in Northern California. Nothing recharges me like a weekend at the river!"

Photographed by Hailley Howard
9 of 19
It seems like you’ve been able to balance your career and personal life really well. How do you juggle it all?
"I used to have a hard time keeping a balance. I worked constantly. I would wake up in the middle of the night for a drink of water and turn on my computer. I would work late nights and through the weekend. But I was unhappy and wasn’t necessarily working smart. Now, unless there is some kind of emergency going on, I only work during work hours. I don’t work on vacations. I don’t work on weekends. My feeling is that it's more important that I like my life than I respond this instant to an email that can wait until Monday. Once I stopped responding to work emails over the weekends, people stopped emailing me over the weekends! If you make yourself available all the time, you will never get a break! I choose to work really hard when I’m at work, and play when I’m not. It's so important to set boundaries, otherwise you will go crazy! Work can’t be your whole life. What’s the point of working towards success if you never take any time to enjoy it?"

Photographed by Hailley Howard
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10 of 19
What’s on your “design” playlist right now?
"I’m loving Honey Honey. And Hanni El Khatib. And I can never get enough of the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, and Bob Dylan. I mean, I like it all!"

Photographed by Hailley Howard
11 of 19
What are three staples from your closet that you can’t live without?
"This is a tough one — I’m a major clotheshorse and have scored some amazing finds over the years! However, if I had to pick three items that I just couldn’t live without, I would select these: My Jenni Kayne leather jacket, an African bucket bag I got in Kenya, and a black Rachel Pally maxi-skirt. It goes with everything!"

Chloé Dress, Isabel Marant Bracelet, Lana Hoops

Photographed by Hailley Howard
12 of 19
What are your top five stores in L.A. to shop for clothes?
"Barneys, Dari, Creatures of Comfort, Jenni Kayne, and Minnette’s in Echo Park for vintage jewelry. But I must say, I do the lion's share of my shopping online! I love Shopbop and La Garçonne."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
13 of 19
Is jersey your main squeeze or do you ever foresee another fabric in your future?
"We incorporate other fabrics into our collection every season and we just did a gorgeous crepe de chine for our holiday collection. But jersey is definitely my main squeeze. I’m so in love with the drape, the feel, and the ease. It’s my favorite fabric to wear!

Photographed by Hailley Howard
14 of 19
Who, from the past or present, is your ultimate style icon?
"My grandmothers! My grandmother Dory had the greatest style — understated, but artful and special. She wore a lot of flowy linen with bold jewelry and beautiful scarves. And always with a flower in her hair! My grandmother Anne wore caftans that she found on her travels and tons of big handmade jewelry, which she crafted in her studio. Bohemian beauties!"

Photographed by Hailley Howard
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15 of 19
We love your plus-size line, the White Label collection. Why is it so important to you to create sizes for all women?
"There aren't a lot of contemporary fashion options out there for the plus-size market. Can you imagine how frustrating it must be to look for a sexy dress to highlight your curves, and not be able to find something that fits? I feel very strongly about making every woman feel sexy, from a size 0-22. We took a leap in launching the White Label collection, and the results have been fantastic. The feedback we receive is touching, and so many women are incredibly appreciative. We're even going to participate in Full Figured Fashion Week this June!"

Photographed by Hailley Howard
16 of 19
What are your favorite shops for home décor?
"I love Lost and Found in Hollywood. And I love flea markets. And I love, love, love Heath Ceramics. We registered there for our wedding!"

Photographed by Hailley Howard
17 of 19
How would you describe your own personal style and the aesthetic in your home?
"Eclectic. I'm equally comfortable in a designer leather jacket and sexy Louboutins (well, I guess not comfy per se, ha!) as I am in a vintage wrap skirt and a woven bag I bought in Kenya for a dollar. I love the mix of high and low. Meanwhile, my home décor is the same. We have wonderful Midcentury vintage finds that we picked up at flea markets, as well as collectibles and rugs that we've brought home from our travels. We have art that we bought from galleries, then art that has been given to us by friends and family. I love a good mix!"

Photographed by Hailley Howard
18 of 19
What are your sneakiest beauty products?
"I use coconut oil for everything! On my face and body, and even in my hair. And I love Josie Maran’s Argan Oil."

KORA Bracelet, Vintage Pinky Ring (from Rachel's grandmother), Lorraine Schwartz Engagement Ring, XIV Karats Wedding Band, Stephanie Halpern Stackable Gold Rings

Photographed by Hailley Howard
19 of 19
What would be your biggest piece of advice to someone pursuing fashion design?
"Don’t give up! Don’t get discouraged! Intern! Make connections! It’s a competitive industry, like so many others. So, you have to stay driven and focused!"

What are some of your goals for the future, professional or personal?
"Professionally, I am always looking at ways to expand the business. I started a line with QVC this year called RP by Rachel Pally, which has been exciting. Personally, my man and I will eventually want to start a family. But right now I'm focused on the here and now!"

Rachel Pally Strawberry Monsoon Mozelle Dress, Maren and Ruby African Bead Necklace, KORA Bangles

Photographed by Hailley Howard
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